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Vatican dismisses today's NY Time story


VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2010 ( VIS ) - The following communique was released late this morning by the Holy See Press Office:

"Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., questioned by journalists concerning a new 'New York Times' article [titled Memo to Pope Described Transfer of Pedophile Priest] which appeared on 26 March and concerns the period in which Cardinal Ratzinger was archbishop of Munich, referred them to this morning's public denial in a communique published by the archdiocese of Munich, which reads:

"'The article in the New York Times contains no new information beyond that which the archdiocese has already communicated concerning the then archbishop's knowledge of the situation of Father H.'

"Thus the archdiocese confirms the position, according to which the then archbishop had no knowledge of the decision to reassign Father H. to pastoral activities in a parish.

"It rejects any other version of events as mere speculation.

Bishop Kicanas: Church should make better use of research


WASHINGTON – Bishops and other church leaders should rely on research and make better use of it, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., said March 24 at the Catholic University of America.

Decision-making based on “one’s instincts, hunches and untested opinions” rather than on sound research “can lead to tragic results,” he said.

Bishop Kicanas, who is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivered the inaugural Dean Hoge Memorial Lecture, sponsored by CUA’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, formerly known as the Life Cycle Institute.

Hoge, who died in 2008, was one of the nation’s leading sociologists of religion. He taught at Catholic University for more than 30 years and headed the Life Cycle Institute from 1999 to 2004.

Kicanas focused his talk on Hoge’s extensive research on Catholic priests and its implications for bishops.

Watch CNN at 10 a.m.


A media alert form Voice of the Faithful:

Dan Bartley, VOTF’s President, is scheduled to appear Friday morning, March 26, at 10 a.m. on CNN. [I suppose that's eastern time.] The topic is the recent revelations about additional sex abuse cases and documents showing that the Vatican apparently refused requests to defrock abusive priests.

An example of the sex abuse cases being reported in the German press


Those of you who have been following the German sex abuse story in these and other pages have read that German Catholics feel anger and shame as these stories continue to appear almost daily in the German press.

These are fair characterizations of German reactions, as best I can determine by being in Munich this past week.

This story, first reported in the German press, has now appeared on the BBC web site. You might find it worth reading to get a sense of what is so upsetting to German Catholics. For those who have followed this tragedy over the years, the case sadly has a familiar ring.

Anti-Catholic Bias


We all make mistakes. But I encountered the same mistake twice this past week, both instances in the work of British writers and it leads me to believe that their ignorance is at the service of their animus in a way that should give us pause.

In an article at, Christopher Hitchens wrote a remarkably uninformed article about Pope Benedict’s involvement with the sex abuse scandal, which Hitch used as an opportunity to attack Pope Benedict XVI. Compared to the writings of my colleague here at NCR, John Allen, well, there is no comparison. Within his diatribe, Hitchens writes of Benedict that ‘he was put in charge of the so-called ‘Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’ (formerly known as the Inquisition).” Ohhh-Ahhhh. The Inquisition. Images of torture chambers and burnings at the stake.

Diocese penalizes homeless aid group


Remember the Bishop of Portland, Richard Malone, leading the charge to repeal the gay marriage law in Maine? Now he is penalizing those groups that supported gay marriage, denying assistance to an organization that helps the homeless.

Diocese penalizes homeless aid group: The bishop and a national organization end financial support after Preble Street backs same-sex marriage.

We're all Sinead O'Connor now


In 1992, when Sinead O’Connor ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II, yelling “fight the real enemy” on Saturday Night Live, I was a sophomore in college and properly horrified by her actions. Far from home and grieving for my father, who had passed away several months before, I had found comfort in my faith -- and I was more than a little annoyed with my floor-mates who had insisted I needed to “question” it, in the manner that college students do.

1992 also happened to be the same year that the allegations against Fr. James Porter, a priest in Fall River, Mass., surfaced. The institutional church was successful, at that time, in painting Porter as a “bad apple.” It would be another 10 years before the scope of the clergy sexual abuse crisis became clear here in the United States. And now, another eight years later, the experiences of Boston in 2002 are being repeated in Ireland, in Germany, and in Austria.


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